Alpha and the Natick Textile Laboratory

In 1978, Alpha Industries was asked by the U.S. Navy’s Natick Textile Laboratory to complete a test contract for a new experimental buoyant jacket design. While research and development of military uniforms took place in government labs, like Natick Laboratories in Massachusetts, the military did not know if the newly designed items or newly modified items could be produced easily on a large scale. By working with established manufacturers like Alpha, the government was able to observe and analyze the manufacturing process and identify potential production issues immediately. Based on the feedback gained from these tests, decisions were made to modify or abandon designs.

In addition to the testing of the Navy’s new buoyant jacket, Alpha was also asked to help test new, smaller sizing for the M-65 field coat intended for the increasing numbers of women entering the military. Experienced contractors like Alpha also routinely offered the government suggestions for ways that the manufacturing process could be improved for better efficiency or ways that designs could be modified for better functionality.

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